Howard is scheduled to have an MRI on Friday morning.
"I don't think I'm that concerned about it," Howard told MLive.com Thursday. "I don't think it's going to be anything over the top where I'm going to be out a long time."
The Red Wings recalled goalie Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to back up Jonas Gustavsson, who starts Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although Howard's injury could affect his chances of earning a place on the United States Olympic team, he maintains it's not a priority.
"What can you do? It is what it is," Howard said. "You do treatment and try to get back as quick as possible."
Defenseman Danny DeKeyser said he's not far off in his recovery from a separated left shoulder, though he won't be ready to play Saturday, when he is eligible to come off long-term injured reserve.
"Starting to feel a lot better, shooting the puck well, starting to take some slap shots and just getting more comfortable with the shoulder," DeKeyser told MLive.com. "It'll still be a little bit, hopefully not too much longer. I don't have an exact time, just going to take it day by day."
Center Darren Helm skated for the first time since he sustained a shoulder injury Dec. 4 but there is no timetable when he can begin practicing.
"The first thing is to get out there a couple more times, start moving the puck a little bit, passing it around, get that under the belt and then figure out if I'm ready to join practice," Helm said.